Resolutions for a Gardener

GardeningThe New Year provides a natural break and is a good time for reflection and goal setting. What have you accomplished in the past year and will these items be continued? Are there new habits or goals you wish to pursue in the year to come? Planning, prioritizing and persistence are keys to arriving or moving toward your goals. Remember, it won’t be long until you sit down to assess your accomplishments a short 12 months from now.

As you plan, don’t forget your gardening goals. There are many practical goals for lawns and landscapes and perhaps a few you haven’t considered. May we suggest a few? First, in the reading department, the cool days of January and February along with the long nights present a good reason to curl up with a good book. A couple I have enjoyed and would recommend if you haven’t read them are “A Land Remembered” by Patrick D. Smith. This fictional story presents information about how Florida developed and discusses the struggle of a family attempting to settle the Florida wilderness. Another interesting read is “Crosby’s Turkey Grove” by Steve Lemasters. This story takes place in the north central Florida town of Citra and reviews the struggles of one Will Crosby who began with five acres of citrus and rose to prominence in the community including serving as a Florida Senator. Learn of his struggles to make a living raising and shipping citrus at the end of the 1800’s. Crosby was not a fictional character – you can see his grave in the family plot in the Citra Cemetery.

Health is often a consideration at the start of a new year. Have you made it a practice to drink plenty of water, particularly when working outside during the hot summer months? How about skin protection? Are you using sunscreen and wearing a broad brimmed hat? Have you scheduled fresh vegetables for production in your garden to enhance dietary habits? Are there new vegetables and associated recipes you might try in the New Year?

In addition to the regular duties required to maintain a landscape take time to consider needs in your yard. Do you have trees that need to be pruned? Planning for a pruning in June will allow you several months to budget for this, yet will get pruning done before the arrival of the prominent storm months in August and September. Good arborists are busy, so schedule work for June well in advance to secure a spot on their calendar. Water is an issue for Florida landscapes and conservation of water is a necessary goal for gardeners. Are there areas of turf that can be eliminated or reduced in your landscape? Have you evaluated your irrigation system to be sure it is delivering water only to targeted areas and only when needed? As years pass, water will become increasing scarce for landscapes. Plan now for this change and begin to implement strategies to use less.

Finally, realize that landscape is a project that never is really completed. Give careful thought to how your landscape is aging. Are there plants that should be replaced? Have you considered new plants you would like to try?

“Gardening is a medicine that does not need a prescription … and has no limit on dosage”, author unknown. As you reflect on how you will garden in the coming year set your goals now and be enriched throughout the year to come.